Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quality time and the Olympic Park Bombing

This weekend I will be spending loads of quality time with my son. I have been searching for activities for us to do and all of my plans have been foiled. We were scheduled to start a weekly music class but due to low registration it was cancelled. We planned to go to the zoo for family day today but that has been postponed. I am racking my brain trying to figure out something for us to do. The National Black Arts Festival is being held here so perhaps I will take him to listen to music at Centennial Olympic Park. But I have history with that park.

What history? Well do you remember when the Olympics were held in Atlanta 12 years ago? I was here. At the time I worked with some friends on a business venture tied to the Olympics. Unfortunately it was not that successful and we ended up in a huge fight. We let bygones be bygones and decided to take a trip to Centennial Olympic Park.

Centennial Olympic Park was bombed that year. Do you remember the bombing? So do I, I was there. My friends and I had just finished walking through the Swatch Watch exhibit and were outside chatting. Suddenly there was a loud explosion and dark ringlets of smoke spiraled up into the air. Someone shouted that a transformer blew. I looked around and saw a guy lying on ground. Cynic that I am I thought to myself that guy is really being dramatic right now.

The guy on the ground didn’t get up, everyone was distraught and two of my friends who were reporters were taking it all in. They happened to be dating (and are married now), the male in the relationship decided to do some investigating. Before we could comprehend what was going on he was halfway to the source of the smoke. His significant other called him back and we all headed home.

As we walked to the car the shrill sound of sirens filled the air. Everyone was dazed and confused trying to figure out what had actually happened. Unable to think of next steps outside of vacating the area, as we passed a vendor several of us stopped to indulge in big cans of ale from down under. When we entered the car we heard the radio reports that the sound we heard was no transformer blowing but in actuality the park had been bombed.

During the car ride home we sat in complete silence. Upon arrival at my friend’s home I saw the news reports of bloodied people in the park. With an ah-ha moment I realized that the guy on the ground had not been pretending. He had been less than 100 yards from us and my heart raced as I realized it could have been me lying on the ground. A message from my mother was on the answering machine; the concern and worry were evident in her voice - “call me when you get this message.” My mother picked up the phone on the first ring and stated “you were there.” I answered affirmatively and her next words were “come home tomorrow.” Following my mother’s directive I was on the plane to New York the following day. And that, my friend, is the story of my history with Centennial Olympic Park.

Memories, ah memories. After that reminiscence perhaps the munchkin and I will find someplace else to play today.


Amazing_Grace said...

So sorry about what happened to you in Centennial Olympic Park.

When my son was little we lived in an apartment and I took him outside everyday sometimes 3 times a day to go to the playground, ride his scooter, explore, etc. He still remembers it to this day. :)

The Hodges Family said...

Your son is adorable. I finally got me a boy. My family are enjoying the newness that he brings. Boys are so sweet (and so are the girls.)


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